Sabarimala celebrates Makaravilakku festival on the occasion of Makara Sankranti

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Published: January 14, 2019 10:38:13 PM

Thousands of devotees thronged the Sabarimala temple on Monday to witness the Makaravilakku festival.

Devotees gather to offer prayers during Makaravilakku festival, at Sabarimala. (PTI Photo)

The Sabarimala Temple today celebrated the Makaravilakku festival, amid the ongoing turbulence following the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in the temple. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple on Monday to witness the ‘deeparadhana’, which is held at Ponnambalamedu, a hill facing the temple. It is the most important event in the two months long annual festival of the temple.

In the auspicious evening, the sacred ornaments or ‘thiruvabharanam’ of Lord Ayyappa are brought to the temple from the Pandalam Palace, where he is believed to have stayed. The royal family of Pandalam is the custodian of those ornaments.

The Makara vilakku is a light, that is believed to have a celestial origin, lits up in the hill opposite to the temple. The chief priest of the Pamba Temple shows the light to the devotees three-times.

On Monday evening the temple complex reverberated with chants of Lord Ayyappa during the event, reported PTI. The door to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple was opened during the ‘deeparadhana’.

The chant of ‘swamiye saranam Ayyappa’ filled in the temple complex as the flame of ‘Makara vilakku’ was shown to the devotees from the Ponnambalamedu hill.

This event marks the conclusion of the two months long Sabarimala pilgrimage. Several devotees from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu came to the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, to be a part of the festivities.

The doors of the Sabarimala temple was thrown open on November 17, 2018, following which it witnessed massive protests following the Supreme Court’s ruling and the state government’s decision to abide by the order of allowing women inside the temple.

Girls and women of the menstruating age were banned from entering the temple traditionally. However, following the ruling, two women between the age of 10 and 50 entered the temple, following which the temple was closed for ‘purification’. The temple will again shut down on January 20, 2019.

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